KELOWNA, B.C. – The BC Cancer Foundation’s 2013 Discovery Luncheon – Kelowna raised an amazing $82,000 to support the Breast Seed Brachytherapy Pilot Research Project at the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior. The project offers patients an effective, more convenient option than traditional radiation therapy by delivering treatment precisely to the site of the cancer.

The third annual Discovery Luncheon celebrates the importance of discovery research happening each year in Kelowna at the BC Cancer Agency. “While this research project has its roots in the Southern Interior, the impact will be realized throughout our province and beyond,” says Doug Nelson, President & CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation.  

Considerable progress has already been made this year in the treatment of breast cancer in the Southern Interior. It has been discovered that two types of brachytherapy are highly successful in treating breast cancer: implantation of permanent radioactive seeds and insertion of temporary high-dose rate needles. Five-year results of seed brachytherapy from Toronto, Canada show excellent efficacy. Seed brachytherapy can be administered in a single one to two hour out-patient procedure with the same effectiveness of standard radiation, which takes three and a half weeks.

“The majority of our patients travel more than two hours to reach the cancer centre in Kelowna,” says Dr. Ross Halperin Acting VP Radiation Therapy, Functional Imaging and Oral Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. “Funding support ultimately enables us to improve patient outcomes. By providing seed brachytherapy to breast cancer patients in the Southern Interior, we are achieving higher patient satisfaction and reducing inconvenience and costs,” adds Dr. Halperin.  

Liz Brydges, breast cancer patient, shared her story with Luncheon guests. Her journey began recently in March 2013, when a routine mammogram resulted in a breast cancer diagnosis. Brydges was accepted into the clinical trial and started brachytherapy treatment in late May. Brydges says that cancer research has had a substantial impact in her life.

“I feel so fortunate that the timing of my breast cancer diagnosis just happened to coincide with a clinical research trial happening in our region that I was eligible for. After dreading an arduous cancer treatment, I couldn’t believe the brachytherapy was only one week (four treatments twice a day) and I was back to work the following week. I am proof of the need to continue raising funds for ground-breaking cancer research,” says Brydges.

The Thomas Alan Budd Foundation also contributed a generous matching gift of $15,000 at this year’s Luncheon. “I recognize the importance of supporting the BC Cancer Foundation and innovative cancer research taking place right here in our community, that’s why I made a significant matching gift,” says Thomas Alan Budd.

With generous support from the 2013 Discovery Luncheon guests, the Breast Seed Brachytherapy Pilot Research Project will help make a difference for those diagnosed with breast cancer for generations to come.

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The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.  As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions. Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca.

Media enquiries please contact:
 
Monica Bisal, Communications Specialist
BC Cancer Foundation
t. 604-707-5934